“The Doors! The Doors!”

I sometimes think we Orthodox have a problem with modernity—by which I don’t mean that we should begin ordaining women to the priesthood or marrying homosexuals (those two thoroughly modern issues) or otherwise throwing the Scriptures into the dustbin. Rather I mean that we seem not to be as good as we might be at coping with the demise of Byzantium. For example, we still continue to use the term “Constantinople” when…

What’s Wrong with Suicide?

Eventually every pastor will be faced with the question of what to do about the theological issue of suicide, either because he will be asked to preside at the funeral of someone who has taken his or her own life, or because he will be asked to offer prayer for their repose. What is the proper response, both theologically and pastorally? May one legitimately preside at the funeral of a suicide or…

Liturgy and the Language of the Street

One sometimes comes across mild debates in Orthodox circles about whether or not our Sunday Divine Liturgy should employ the archaic forms (e.g. “Thou hast”) or the contemporary ones (e.g. “You have”). Our own O.C.A. website has perhaps wisely decided not to jump into the debate and take definitive sides, but to offer the liturgical texts in both forms, so that one has a choice of downloading either the “You/ Your Version”…

The Feast of the Meeting: a Celebration of the Elderly

The Feast of the Meeting of Christ in the Temple (February 2) is a feast of the elderly.   When the Holy Family entered the Temple courts to offer the required sacrifice for the purification of Mary after her giving birth to Jesus, her Son was recognized as the Messiah by only two people, picked out by the power and illumination of the Spirit from all the multitudes of people swarming through the…

To the Preacher: K.I.S.S.

For the Orthodox priest, preaching is a fearful responsibility: the Holy Gospel has just been solemnly chanted in Church, and the assembled people of God have greeted the Lord in their midst with the words, “Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You!” Then, as if he has something to add to the words of the incarnate God in their midst, the preacher stands up to add a kind of liturgical addendum…

On the Virtue of Goodness

In his list of virtues which comprise the fruit of Spirit working in one’s life, St. Paul lists that of “goodness” (Greek agathosune, αγαθοσυνη) about midway in the list (Galatians 5:22f). One scarcely speaks of goodness as one of the virtues anymore. In our culture describing something as “good” is rather tepid praise; it is like saying something is “okay”, and “good” comes first in our ascending ladder of praise—“good, better, best”.…